July 2013

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
7.7 (July 2013)


1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. Thomas Berry Award Given to Jim Conlon (July 18, 2013 at Sophia Center Summer Institute, Oakland, CA, USA)

3. “Emergent Universe Oratorio Premiere” (September 15, 2013 in Shelburne, VT, USA)

4. Reflections by Thomas Berry

5. World Wildlife Fund’s Engagement with Faithful Youth and Launch of the Youth Pledge

6. “Mapping the Field of Religion and Ecology” (November 22, 2013 Colloquium before American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD, USA)

7. New Books

8. New Film:
Numen: The Healing Power of Plants

9. Events

10. Calls for Papers

11. “Ethics and Climate” Blog by Donald Brown

12. Eco-Congregation Scotland Forum

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the July issue of the newsletter for the Forum on Religion and Ecology. I have much to share with you this month with regards to developments in the field of Religion and Ecology, including publications, conferences, events, calls for papers, and more.

The EMMY® award-winning Journey of the Universe film and Educational Series (now titled “Conversations”) are available now via Amazon.com as well as the Journey of the Universe website at http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/buy/ The film has been translated into Spanish and the book into French, Italian, and Korean.

I am happy to share news with you about the recent conference on “Journey of the Universe and Our Elegant Universe” at Chautauqua Institution in New York that took place on June 24-28. The conference was a wonderful setting to explore the story of cosmic, Earth, and human evolution. Scientists gave lectures in the morning sessions on the topic of “Our Elegant Universe.” The Journey of the Universe film had two screenings followed by lively discussions, and the afternoon sessions included responses to the film from the perspectives of the world religions. These sessions were organized by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim with colleagues from the Forum, including Heather Eaton, Chris Chapple, David Haberman, and James Miller. To view video recordings and photos from the week, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/conference-at-chautauqua/

I hope this newsletter supports your own work and helps you further your own engagements with the field of Religion and Ecology.

Warm wishes,
Elizabeth McAnally
California Institute of Integral Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Website Manager & Newsletter Editor

2. Thomas Berry Award Given to Jim Conlon (July 18, 2013 at Sophia Center Summer Institute, Oakland, CA, USA)

On Thursday evening July 18 at 7pm at Holy Names University in Oakland the Thomas Berry Award will be presented to Jim Conlon PhD. All are invited to attend.

The presentation by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker will take place at the opening of the Sophia Center Summer Institute.  For more about this event, visit:

For some 30 years Jim Conlon has contributed to the Great Work of our time through his teaching, writing, and lecturing. In addition, he has faithfully directed the Sophia Center for Culture and Spirituality where so many have deepened their understanding of the comprehensive vision of Thomas Berry. Please join us in this special tribute to Jim Conlon.

The presentation will be followed by a talk by Barbara Holmes on Race and Cosmos Redux with responses by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker.

3. “Emergent Universe Oratorio Premiere” (September 15, 2013 in Shelburne, VT, USA)

Breeding Barn at Shelburne Farms
Shelburne, VT, USA


Composition by Sam Guarnaccia
Visual art by Cameron Davis

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim will participate in the Premiere.

The Oratorio Premiere is co-hosted by collaborative partners Shelburne Farms and All Souls Interfaith Gathering. It is a project of 2020 Strategies, is supported by grants from the Argosy Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and sponsored by the American Teilhard Association.

For the flyer, visit:

For more information, call 802 734 0279 or visit:

4. Reflections by Thomas Berry

The Thomas Berry website now includes a new page of reflections:

These reflections were delivered at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City where Thomas Berry was a Canon and an advisor to the Dean James Parks Morton. We extend gratitude to the Cathedral Archivist, Wayne Kempton, for making these available and to Wes Pascoe for updating them for the Internet.

Visit this page to listen the following audio recordings:

* Advent
* Spiritual Traditions
* Ecology, Religion, Peace
* Spirituality and Ecology
* The Earth Community as the Source of Christian Unity
* Teilhard de Chardin
* The Epiphany
* New York in History and Nature
* Moment of Grace

Also available on this page are the following written transcripts:

* Bioregions: The Context for Reinhabiting the Earth
* The Earth Community as the Source of Christian Unity
* The Ecological Age
* Gaia Institute Lectures
* The New Story: Comments on the Origin, Identification and Transmission of Values
* Perspectives on Creativity: Openness to a Free Future
* Spirituality and Ecology

Another new page of the website includes photos from Berry’s 80th birthday celebration. To view these photos, visit:

5. World Wildlife Fund’s Engagement with Faithful Youth and Launch of the Youth Pledge

Nearly half of our global population is under the age of 25; encouraging faith-motivated youth to lead conservation efforts is critical. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has a new initiative geared toward inspiring youth leaders in the American faith communities to become advocates for conservation. Their goal is for at least 100,000 youth to pledge to do so in the next month. In return, they will share simple actions they can take each month to protect the environment and hope to include their ideas as we develop the program further. More about this pledge is available at: www.worldwildlife.org/YouthPledge.

This initiative is largely inspired by discussions with faith-based youth leaders from all over of the world in the past year. In response to these conversations, WWF Sacred Earth is launching a webpage that highlights the voices of youth on their desire to be good stewards of nature, to build on their faith values, and to become environmental leaders in their own communities and across the planet. They hope this initiative encourages a sense of connection with all life on earth and with one another. They will continue to update and include stories from young faith-based people around the world who wish to join WWF in protecting our living planet. Please do share this with any young people who may find this interesting: www.worldwildlife.org/youth. And if they want to submit their story, they can do so via this link: www.worldwildlife.org/YouthStories.

6. “Mapping the Field of Religion and Ecology” (November 22, 2013 Colloquium before American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD, USA)

Friday, November 22, 2013
1:45–5:00 pm

The Religion and Ecology Group invites you to take part in a pre-AAR (American Academy of Religion) colloquium to survey and map the theoretical and methodological diversities within the field of religion and ecology. This research area is now robust with multiple avenues of research and activities, including many traditions, voices, theories, approaches, discourses, methodologies, and emphases. It is our goal to collectively discuss and assess where we have come from, where we are, and where we are going. This colloquium is envisioned as a participatory event designed both for those who have long contributed to this groundbreaking work as well as those who are new to such scholarly conversations.

The goals of this session are as follows:

1. To map the intellectual terrain covered by scholars and activists, including those who initiated such scholarly conversations as well as those who are active in the present and diverse shaping of the field.

2. To analyze and identify the common theories and methodologies employed by scholars across the interdisciplinary and multi-religious landscape of the field of religion and ecology to date.

3. To articulate and explore pertinent questions, theories and methodologies, lacunae, and trajectories that may guide the development of the field in the twenty-first century.

It is our intent that in mapping the terrain, hearing from those who have contributed to the maturation of the field, and suggesting signposts which point the way forward, that we can foster a more timely, focused, and fruitful scholarly conversation for future study in the field. We hope that you will join this conversation, bringing your own expertise and energy.

To register for this workshop, visit the AAR website:

7. New Books

Ecology Is Permanent Economy: The Activism and Environmental Philosophy of Sunderlal Bahuguna
By George Alfred James
SUNY Press, 2013

For decades, Sunderlal Bahuguna has been an environmental activist in his native India, well known for his efforts on behalf of the Himalayas and its people. In the 1970s, he was instrumental in the successful Chipko (or “hug”) movement during which local people hugged trees to prevent logging for outside concerns. He was also a leader of the long opposition to the Tehri Dam. In both conflicts, the interests of outsiders threatened the interests of local people living relatively traditional lives.

George Alfred James introduces Sunderlal Bahuguna’s activism and philosophy in a work based on interviews with Bahuguna himself, his writings, and journalistic accounts. James writes that Bahuguna’s work in the Indian independence movement and his admiration for the nonviolence of Gandhi has inspired a vision and mode of activism that deserves wider attention. It is a philosophy that does not try to win the conflict, but to win the opponent’s heart.


Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth
Edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The Golden Sufi Center, 2013

Our present ecological crisis is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced—its accelerating climate change, species depletion, pollution and acidification of the oceans. A central but rarely addressed aspect of this crisis is our forgetfulness of the sacred nature of creation, and how this affects our relationship to the environment. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis. This is vital and necessary if we are to help bring the world as a living whole back into balance. Contributors include: Chief Oren Lyons, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sandra Ingerman, Joanna Macy, Sister Miriam MacGillis, Satish Kumar, Vandana Shiva, Fr. Richard Rohr, Bill Plotkin, Jules Cashford, Wendell Berry, Winona LaDuke, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Brian Swimme, and others.

To watch the book trailer, visit:


Aesth/Ethics in Environmental Change: Hiking through the arts, ecology, religion and ethics of the environment
Edited by Sigurd Bergmann, Irmgard Blindow, and Konrad Ott
Studies in Religion and the Environment/Studien zur Religion und Umwelt, Vol. 7
Berlin-Münster-Wien-Zürich-London: LIT Verlag 2013

Can aesthetics and ethics be integrated for the good of habitats, places and spaces? How can arts widen our perception of nature and deepen environmental ethics? Should the political meaning of a landscape be defined solely in terms of its economic and ecological values?

Questions like these are explored from the angles of arts, environmental ethics, ecology, religious studies, theology, art history and philosophy. The book catalyzes the reflection about the aesthetic and spiritual dimension in the environmental humanities, and it offers transdisciplinary insights into the challenge of sustainability and ongoing changes in the society and our environment.


Faith in Conservation
By Martin Palmer and Victoria Finlay
Alliance of Religions and Conservation, Revised Edition, 2013

Ten years after its original publication ARC has revised a groundbreaking book on the links between religion and conservation. Jointly written by ARC’s Martin Palmer and Victoria Finlay in 2003, Faith in Conservation explores the spiritual and practical value of involving religions in environmentalism, with many practical examples of their unique contribution to conservation action from ancient times to the present day. The book’s publication was an important collaboration between ARC and the Washington-based World Bank, reflecting the latter’s commitment to supporting progressive developments in environmental strategies as well as the growing understanding of the enormous potential strength of many religious organisations as investors. Since Faith in Conservation first emerged a decade ago there has been a real growth in understanding of the importance of religion as a force for environmental protection, both within religious traditions themselves and also the environmentalist world. This increasing awareness means that the book’s reissue in a revised edition will hopefully continue to reach newer and wider audiences.

Download a PDF version at: http://www.arcworld.org/downloads/Faith-in-Conservation-2013.pdf


Sustainability and Well-Being: The Middle Path to Environment, Society and the Economy
By Asoka Bandarage
Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

In Sustainability and Well-Being, Asoka Bandarage provides an integrated analysis of the twin challenges of environmental sustainability and human well-being by investigating them as interconnected phenomena requiring a paradigmatic psychosocial transformation. She presents an incisive social science analysis and an alternative philosophical perspective on the needed transition from a worldview of domination to one of partnership.


Roger S. Gottlieb’s book of philosophical short stories, Engaging Voices: Tales of Morality and Meaning in an Age of Global Warming (Baylor University Press, 2011), received a Nautilus Book Award for Fiction. One of those stories focuses on the role of religion in environmentalism. For more, visit: http://www.baylorpress.com/Book/249/Engaging_Voices.html

Gottlieb’s most recent book, Spirituality: What it Is and Why it Matters (Oxford, 2012) also won a Nautilus Award. The book has a chapter focusing explicitly on spirituality and nature. For more, visit: http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738748.001.0001/acprof-9780199738748

8. New Film: Numen: The Healing Power of Plants

Numen, defined as the animating force in nature, celebrates the healing power of plants and the natural world. The film calls on viewers to think about the sources of their medicine and to consider how their healthcare choices affect themselves and the environment.


9. Events

Spiritual Ecology: A Spiritual Response to our Present Ecological Crisis”
Lecture by Llewellyn Vaughan Lee
California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA, USA
July 11, 2013

Sustainability and the Sacred”
Hampshire College Summer Retreat Program
Amherst, MA, USA
July 14-20, 2013

The Earth is the Lord’s: Renewing the Covenant of Creation”
High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
July 15-18, 2013

Integral Theory Conference 2013: “Connecting the Integral Kosmopolitan”
San Francisco, CA, USA
July 18 - July 21, 2013

The Mystery of Nature and Soul”
Sophia Summer Institute 2013
Holy Names University, Oakland, CA, USA
Summer Institute: July 18 – 21, 2013
Post Institute Retreat: July 21 – 23, 2013

Scientific, Spiritual, and Moral Challenges in Solving the World Food Crisis”
59th Annual Summer Conference of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS)
Silver Bay Conference Center on Lake George, NY, USA
July 27 - August 3, 2013

Contemplative Environmental Studies: Pedagogy For Self And Planet”
Workshop/Retreat for Professors
Lama Foundation, NM, USA
July 28 - August 3, 2013

Values in the Environment – Relations and Conflicts”
The X International Institute of Applied Aesthetics (IIAA) International Summer Conference on Environmental Aesthetics
Lahti, Finland
August 1-3, 2013

Sustainable Pathways: Learning from the Past and Shaping the Future”
The 98th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
August 4-9, 2013

Our Children, Climate, Faith Symposium”
Strafford, VT, USA
August 16-17, 2013

For more events, visit:

10. Calls for Papers

The 3rd Annual European Conference for Critical Animal Studies
Karlsruhe, Germany
November 28-30, 2013
Submission deadline: July 15, 2013

Philosophy Activism Nature (PAN) Journal
Open submission deadline

11. “Ethics and Climate” Blog by Donald Brown

Ethics and Climate seeks to increase and deepen public reflection on the ethical implications of human-induced climate change among policymakers, the public, non-government organizations, and journalists.

Climate change must be understood essentially as a civilization challenging ethical and moral problem. It is an ethical problem because some people and nations more than others are responsible for causing this problem, the consequences to those who will be most harmed from climate change are potentially catastrophic, and those most vulnerable to climate change often can’t protect themselves from harsh climate impacts. Their best hope is that those causing the problem will respond to their ethical duties to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to their fair share of safe global emissions.


12. Eco-Congregation Scotland Forum

The Eco-Congregation Scotland has a new online discussion forum. This is a place where you can discuss issues about faith and the environment, or exchange ideas with other eco-congregations.

The forum is located at:

You will be asked to answer a security question during the registration process (this prevents automated processes from creating fake accounts), and the answer to this is 121.

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology has as its focus the relationships between religion, culture and ecology world-wide. Articles discuss major world religious traditions, such as Islam, Buddhism or Christianity; the traditions of indigenous peoples; new religious movements; and philosophical belief systems, such as pantheism, nature spiritualities, and other religious and cultural worldviews in relation to the cultural and ecological systems. Focusing on a range of disciplinary areas including Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sociology and Theology, the journal also presents special issues that center around one theme. For more information, visit: http://www.brill.com/worldviews-global-religions-culture-and-ecology

For more information on other journals related to religion and ecology and to environmental ethics/philosophy, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/journals/. If you know of a publication that needs to be added to this list, email news@religionandecology.org

For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit: